Blog Post #698 – Third Fire Prompts Review

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A third fire between April 2011 and May 2013 has hit the Federated Cooperatives Limited Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina, prompting the company to scrutinize its health and safety programs.

Shortly after midnight on February 11, 2013, a fire in her Coker unit at the downtown oil refinery blew the tin roof of the building in which it was housed, sending a plume of fire streaming about 25 m into the night sky.

Vic Huard, the refinery’s vice president of corporate affairs, reports that the incident took place in the one of the refinery’s heavy oil units. The fire was contained in there were no injuries, as few workers were in the vicinity of the flames.

“There were three contractors in close proximity there. Although they were not evacuated of the site, they were simply mustered to their work trailers and were accounted for,” he says. The refinery’s internal response team extinguished the blaze within half an hour. The fire department took a section of the chromium pipe involved in the blast for investigation.

The provinces Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety review findings from the fire department and the employer’s investigation to determine if enforcement action is necessary.

The coke discharge pump was last inspected in 2010. As the unit is on a three-year turnaround, it was set for inspection and revamping on March 27, 2013. As the incident took place very close to the turnaround, Huard suggests that it could have an impact on the refinery’s inspection and maintenance routines. However, no decision would be made until results from the fire department’s investigation or made available.

Huard says this latest incident is not related to the one that occurred May 2012 when the overheating of an improperly installed new bearing resulted in $7.5 million in damage to a pump, but no injuries. Following the incident, the company evaluated its training for mechanics installing the bearings.

In October 2011, an explosion caused by the rupturing of a gas line in the refinery’s diesel processing area injured 52 and sent 13 workers to hospital.

Gerard Kay, deputy fire chief with Regina Fire and Protective Services, says the string of fires at the facility in recent years do not pose a concern to the fire department as they are not the result of a systemic problem.

“They have got a 19-point action plan in place right now, which addresses the majority of the concerns from the previous incidents and would take care of this incident also, Kay notes.

My opinion

I was wondering when the number of accidents is enough for the Ministry of Labour in Saskatchewan to ensure changes are made to better protect the workforce. Disappointing in the least!

Mind you, in recent years, I have been closely monitoring most of the provinces and find that Saskatchewan is becoming a leader in the safety field. The government out there has the right people in place to ensure changes made set awaiting for a major catastrophe to happen. As an example, they have an electrical lockout/tagout program called “The Road to Zero Energy”. It is one of the most proactive approach to health and safety I have seen in a long while.

Always remember that your government must ensure that your workplace is a safe place. You can make change in your part of the province by contacting your provincial Member of Parliament and suggesting that legislative changes may be necessary.

As well, ensure that your province enforces any and all safety acts and safety regulations.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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